Bug Out or Stay Put?
[Preparation and Assessing Threats for the correct course of action]

The goal of this blog is to encourage Planning and Preparation for emergencies or changes in resources, the environment or economy. Of all the "emergencies" I've experienced, I never needed to leave my house? Staying put was the best place to be. Of all the other things that "could" happen, staying put (Shelter-In-Place) will, most likely, be the best option than evacuating ("bugging out"). So, when I see some of the extreme evacuation preparations on TV or read the plans for putting so much time and money in preparing to leave "just in case", I think just how likely is that going to happen and could the efforts be better spent on surviving where they are.

In one of my former roles, I did Risk Assessments and have applied this process to my Emergency Planning. I make a list of my assets and think of the potential threats against my assets, then try to determine the likelihood (how often) those threats could occur, then identify the plans and resources I have to protect and respond to those threats. 99.99% of the time, I will be staying home. So, most of my planning is based on staying home. However, I do have plans for relocating on that rare occasion. Part of that plan is being able to quickly mobilize, what I have prepared for staying home, to a predetermined evacuation location. Do you live near a plant that manufactures or stores dangerous chemicals, a nuclear power plant, in an area susceptible to tornados, fires or flooding? You need to evaluate the potential threats where you live and work and plan accordingly.

I try not to think in the extreme; the simpler the better and easier to remember. For example, instead of an underground bunker, my plans include visiting a friend or family member several hundred miles away toting all my home-prep stuff with me in my pickup truck. Naturally, I must know that they are not be facing the same predicament that I'm running away from. Fortunately, my friends and family extend to many states far and wide.

When something happens, you will need to decide to do one OR the other or one THEN the other. THE most important thing is to HAVE A PLAN, and the preparations, for the decision you make.

The moral of this Posting is, think of what could happen and how often it could happen and plan and prepare logically and sensibly so that your planning efforts are focused properly. There are two basic intelligent choices. A third choice (don't plan and just wing it) boggles my mind, and I would rather believe that the readers of this blog are more intelligent than that, so let's stick with only choices 1 and 2:

1 - STAY PUT (Shelter In Place):
Learn how to evaluate When Bugging Out Is not an Option. Stay where you are (Shelter In Place) at home, or at work, and be able to Survive Where You Are for a reasonable period of time without any outside assistance. An Emergency Kit will be just as important when Sheltering In Place as it would be if evacuating.
Tips For Sheltering In Place

2 - BUG OUT (Evacuate):
Review the contents of your Emergency Kit and modify if needed before leaving. Quickly and efficiently evacuate your home, or work, and travel to a predetermined destination . . . know where you will go, what you will take and how you will get there. Usually, it is best to leave under the cover of darkness. Dark clothes (and dark vehicles) will be beneficial.

Pre-Evacuation Checklist: If it becomes necessary to Bug-Out during an emergency or prepare for a carefree vacation and homecoming, what is done to prepare the home or business before leaving, can be as important as what is done while away. Here's a checklist to consider for planning before leaving home for extended periods of time. Additionally, it's good to have a (Grab-n-Go) list of items that need to take with you. This list should identify where they are located (to avoid hunting) in the house.
Sample List Templates

When is it time to evacuate? If you bug out too soon, you may discover the emergency was not really as bad as first thought, wasting time and resources. But if bugging out too late, you could find yourself in a worse position than you were in had you stayed.
Essentials for Choosing the Perfect Bug Out Location: Survival Communities
Shelters for Off-Grid Living and Emergencies

If using a vehicle to evacuate, make sure the vehicle is bug-out-ready. Pre-plan multiple backroad routes to avoid civil unrest and traffic backups. Keep in mind that Global Positioning Systems (GPS) may be off-line or slow to respond so it's always good to have a compass and printed detailed map (Road Atlas) available, even if it's out of date (current is preferred).

Alternative Evacuation Methods: A large percentage of the population don't have access to a personal vehicle, use public transportation or are unable to drive. Consider these options for evacuating.

If it's necessary to travel on foot, walk silently in a single file (if there are multiple people in your party) for the appearance of a single person from the front or rear of the column to help reduce attention to the exodus. Reference: Escape and Evade

Dangerous Hiking Mistakes Most People Make: When planning a hike, keep in mind to have a solution for the following . . . even highly experienced mountain packers can get into trouble – in a heartbeat.

Some resources to consider:
Urban Survival Guide
How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios
When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Prepping and Crisis Survival

See Also:
Preparing a Bug Out Bag
Travel Guide for Safety & Security